Claude Tousignant was born in Montréal, Québec in 1932. He studied at the School of Art and Design, Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, with Jacques de Tonnancour and Gordon Webber.
Tousignant's work is primarily focused on colour and the effects, or rather sensations different colours can arose. His abstract works incorporate many colours, or sometimes use only one. He has also explored sculpture.
Tousignant was a member of the Association des artistes non-figuratifs de Montréal and, with other notable abstract artists of the time, he made a significant impact on the popularity and growth of abstract art in Québec.
His work has been shown extensively in Canada and internationally. In 1965 he represented Canada at the 8th Bienal de São Paulo and in 1973. His work is part of the collections at The National Gallery of Canada, and the Musée des Beaux-arts, among others.
Tousignant was the recipient of the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in 1974, and the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas in 1989. He was also appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1976 and in 2010 was named a winner of the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. He is also a member of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.